B.E.L. Reproductive Health Peer Educators Share

DSCN3255The B.E.L. (Board of Educated Ladies) Reproductive Health Peer Educators shared medically accurate information with family and friends on Wednesday night, December 18.

The girls presented information and research on how to properly fit a bra; skin care for adolescents; STI/STD’s; menstruation; teen pregnancy; breast self exams; contraception; and abstinence.

The girls, some in their first year of B.E.L. and others in their second year of the program (the girls with the slick blue satin jackets!), presented the information to DSCN3246parents, community health partners, and members of the Girls Inc. Board.

Mychael Shields, a 2nd year B.E.L. “veteran” presented a PowerPoint presentation about STD’s and STI’s.  She warned the audience “some of these images are graphic.” She spoke about how the girls learned about contraception options and which options help protect against STD’s/STI’s. After describing the options for girls who choose to become sexually active, she added, “Abstinence is the one form of contraception that is 100% effective and has no side effects.” She acknowledged that abstinence is the method “preferred” by Girls Inc., but that the staff at Girls Inc. want the girls to be informed and safe if they choose to become sexually active.

The girls also displayed anatomically correct models used as part of the B.E.L. educational experience. After one of the presentations using a penis demonstration model, one of the moms stated, “I had no idea my daughter even knew what a penis looked like. I guess this opens up the opportunity for us to have some conversations now.”  At Girls Inc. of Omaha, parents are considered girls’ first and best teachers. “If we can open the door to some parent-daughter conversations, then we are accomplishing something important,”stated Ms. CT Green, Director of Health Access at Girls Inc.

One mom said, “This makes me feel a little uncomfortable.” Ms. CT replied, “Well it doesn’t make us uncomfortable at all. At Girls Inc., the girls know we can talk about anything.” As Ms. CT described how she wanted the girls to have all the information they need to make informed decisions about relationships, their bodies, and their health, parents around the room were nodding in agreement.

The second cohort of B.E.L. girls are looking forward to receiving their own jackets very soon which will identify them as Peer Educators at Girls Inc. and in the community.

E-mail from Ms. Kainette

Ms. Kainette chaperoned four girls on a trip to Indianapolis to participate in Girls InCharge, a 3-day summer camp experience to learn about the working world, college life, and women entrepreneur role models. She sent this e-mail back to Ms. Roberta:

EmpressIn one of the photos, Empress Cozart is standing with Charlie Wagner, Market Manager at Sam’s Club in Indiana. Sam’s was the sponsor of the Girls InCharge Summit. He shared a story about his experience at the networking workshop during his speech. He told a story about how he decided to sit at a table with a group of girls to see if anyone would talk to him. He is a big guy and sort of intimidating at first glance; he towered over all the participants. He said to his surprise that Empress, a Girls Inc. of Omaha member, introduced herself by saying “Hi! My name is Empress,” and then he looked at her name badge and it said “My name is Empress, and I’m confident in everything I do!

He went on to share how impressed he was with her overall self-confidence and her ability to hold a conversation and share openly about her experiences at Girls Inc. and on a personal level. Girls Inc. of Omaha made quite the impression. Anne Hitchner, Regional Membership Director, Great Lakes Region Sam Club visited with me after the luncheon and told me how proud I should be of our girls and ho highly they spoke of not only me (lol) but also their experiences at Girls Inc. One of the girls shared “how she might be doing something bad and that Girls Inc. saved her.” Other members talked about all of the different opportunities they had been given as members to try something different or learn something new that they never would have experienced were it not for Girls Inc. Yet others shared how Girls Inc. has taught them how to be confident and that it’s okay to be yourself and that they [staff] really care about us.

I think I have an eye for recognizing leadership and in giving… chances until a girl has that “ah hah” moment where they begin to see the same leadership qualities in themselves that I do.

I am as thankful and proud of the girls as if they were my own – and in a sense – they are, and I want to thank you for this experience and opportunity to see them shine!Omaha Girls InCharge web

Alum Graduates from UNO with Business Degree

Alum Kelsey sent us a graduation photo and the nicest thank you note:

What makes life’s successes so great is when you have a wonderful group of people supporting you along the way.  I would like to truly thank you, your team, and everyone involved for your support personally as a girl growing into a young woman and as a student.  This past December I graduated from the University of Nebraska at Omaha with a degree in Business Administration.  The beauty of this story is that I had people like you (Girls Inc.) that have been empowering me to be STRONG, SMART & BOLD since the age of seven.  Thank you Girls Inc. for your contribution to my life that not only impacted me while I was a member, but also now and in the future.  Thank you Girls Inc. for all you do for young girls all over the world.  We appreciate you!

Love,

Kelsey D. Wright